In hopes of identifying her killer, police have seized the Yahoo! Internet accounts of a woman found dead in her townhouse in July.
Davidson police Detective Vernon Siders Jr. seized Sarah Catherine Long’s accounts by court order late last week, including text messages and saved, opened, unopened and deleted emails, according to a search warrant.
Siders also seized information on financial transactions done through Long’s Yahoo! accounts, the search warrant said. The warrant doesn’t disclose what he found.
A Superior Court judge issued the warrant on Thursday, and Siders seized the emails, text messages and other information through Yahoo! Inc.’s compliance team in Sunnyvale, Calif., according to the warrant.
Siders didn’t return a voicemail message left by the Observer on Tuesday.
Long was found dead in her bedroom on July 23 with a gun in her hand, according to previous search warrants.
She died of a single gunshot wound to the left side of her head, Dr. Michael Sullivan, Mecklenburg County’s chief medical examiner at the time, wrote in an autopsy report obtained by the Observer.
Police said Long’s death initially appeared to be from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to a previous search warrant returned.
But based on witness statements, police said, they believe someone else was inside Long’s house on Old Meeting Way the night she died, according to other search warrants. Police are now treating the death as a homicide.
Responding officers found Long in her upstairs bedroom, clutching a .357 Taurus revolver in her left hand. Police said Long was right-handed, according to the warrants.
Siders said in the previous warrants that he was approached by William Becker, who told the detective he was a friend of Long and that she was depressed and had recently been diagnosed with cervical cancer. Long’s doctor told police three weeks after Long was found dead that she did not have cervical cancer, according to the warrants.
One search warrant said Becker told a detective about his relationship with Long. They’d met in December and began dating in April. Both were married, and the relationship was a secret, Becker told investigators, according to the warrant.
The warrant indicates that Long’s will left Becker all of her assets – nearly $1 million.
Attempts by the Observer to reach Becker in recent months have been unsuccessful.